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I Think My Mom Is an Alcoholic. What Should I Do?

Patricia Williams By Patricia Williams, PhD on March 8, 2017

If you believe your mom may be suffering from a severe addiction to alcohol, getting her help from a professional treatment program is necessary to her safe and effective recovery. Call 800-654-0987 now for help finding the best rehab options available for your family.

Understanding and Recognizing Alcoholism

One of the first things you can do if you suspect someone you love may be suffering from an addiction is to consider why you feel this way and what evidence you have that they are addicted to a specific substance, in this case, alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, here are some of the strongest signs of an alcohol use disorder (AUD), especially one that could be as severe as an addiction and one for which an individual will require treatment.

  • Drinking more or longer than one originally intended to
  • Trying to cut back or stop drinking but being unable to do so
  • Gotten hurt more than once while drinking
  • Experiencing a tolerance for alcohol that causes one to drink more than they used to in order to experience the same effects
  • Experiencing health problems associated with one’s drinking and continuing to drink
  • Spending a lot of time drinking and recovering from it
  • Spending a lot of money on alcohol and other aspects of drinking
  • Experiencing problems at home, work, or school because of one’s drinking
  • Getting arrested or experiencing legal problems associated with one’s drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms as a result of not drinking

If you have noticed your mom experiencing several of these issues in the past year, she is very likely suffering from alcoholism and will need help.

Staging an Intervention

Often, it is very hard for a child to tell their parent they need to seek help for addiction, even when the two individuals are both adults. Therefore, you may want to avoid making the conversation about your mom’s substance abuse your responsibility alone and instead stage an intervention.

  • Choose about six of your mother’s closest friends, family members, and loved ones. Make sure these are people whose opinions she cares about and that they have experienced her drinking and its issues first hand.
  • Ask everyone to write down what they would like to say to your mother about her substance abuse and their concerns. Then, everyone can read what they’ve written aloud at the intervention. This will keep people from saying things they don’t really mean in the heat of the moment.
  • Always make sure you have a treatment program lined up for your mother’s care so, if she agrees to seek help, there won’t be any lag time in between. If she does not agree to begin treatment, it is important to tell her what consequences this will bring on (you will no longer be able to loan her money for alcohol, you will no longer talk to her about her addiction, etc.).

Getting Her Help and Being Supportive

If your mother does agree to seek help, now is the most important time to show her that you will support her in her recovery and be there with her every step of the way. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits,” and showing your support for a loved one in recovery will actually make them more likely to enter and stay in treatment.

  • If your mother decides to seek inpatient care, call and visit her often to show you are still thinking about her even while she’s in treatment.
  • You can also choose to go to a family therapy program with your mother in order to work through the issues you are both experiencing and to help heal your relationship. You can even learn to recognize enabling behaviors you may have engaged in and how to avoid them.
  • It will also help your mother––and you––if you choose to seek your own treatment, especially if you are carrying hurt feelings or resentments about her drinking. You can achieve this through one-on-one therapy or attending a support group for the family members of alcoholics like Al-Anon.

Where Can I Find Treatment?

If you are ready to look for a rehab option for your mother’s safe recovery, call 800-654-0987 now and speak to one of our treatment advisors.

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